The seventh annual Information Technology in Aged Care Conference (ITAC) was held in Hobart last week, with hundreds of delegates and exhibitors attending from across Australia and internationally. With the theme, Digital Revolution in Seniors Living – assistive technologies: disruptor or enhancer of services? conference sessions explored the importance of information technology in establishing a sustainable, quality focused aged care environment.
iCareHealth joined over 50 exhibitors for an opportunity to meet with key stakeholders in the sector and learn about their experiences in the changing world of aged care. Throughout the two day event, sessions explored the push towards Consumer Directed Care (CDC) and how the aged care industry – now more than ever – needs to put consumers at the centre of all that they do. There was also increasing discussion on the shift towards technology in business, and how the aged care sector needs to adapt and move quickly in order to thrive.
One of the highlights of the conference was a presentation by Business Futurist, Craig Rispin. Rispin explored the growing push towards mobile solutions, both in residential aged care and in the wider care sector. With over seven billion people in the world and around 6.8 billion mobile subscribers, mobile technology is the biggest deployed technology on the planet. Rispin explained that Australia is currently sixth in the world in terms of mobile take up, with around 64.8% penetration. This figure can be translated to reflect that care workers are largely comfortable using mobile devices, which results in minimal training needs and higher usage rates of mobile solutions amongst staff.
Another stand out session was the keynote presentation by Associate Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Geriatric Medicine, Jenny Basran, from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. Basran spoke on Technology Across the Continuum of Aged Care, and emphasised that technology can be used as an enabler, but only when using the right technology for the right purpose. Basran also explored the changing nature of person centred care, and highlighted the growing push from consumers in wanting to take control of their own care needs. Basran expressed that it is important that aged care providers recognise this shift and are able to tailor communication and care to meet consumers’ expectations.
Overall, ITAC 2014 gave delegates a great insight into the changing nature of technology in aged care. In order to stand out in a consumer directed environment, it is essential that aged care providers embrace the right technology to suit their needs.
What was the key message that you took away from ITAC 2014?